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Nov 3, 2017

Mark Smith talks to producer John Tomlinson about SBC Theatre, the company he co-created and which has recently become the UK’s first "Theatre Company of Sanctuary".

This status recognises the company's work with, about and for those seeking sanctuary in the UK. John is also Associate Producer at York Theatre Royal, working on in-house shows such as the massive community production Everything Is Possible as well as helping with the programming of other events at the theatre.

John discusses the evolution of SBC into a politically engaged company seeking to raise awareness of the often shocking hardships and issues faced by asylum seekers and refugees. Starting with 2016's Tanja, tackling the stories of women held at Yarl's Wood detention centre, John and his collaborators have aimed to reach beyond conventional theatre spaces in raising awareness and starting conversations with a diverse range of people.

"It felt like when we had Emily as part of this piece that we had really unlocked what Yarl's Wood is and what it stands for as part of our society. [...] Ultimately this is a story that we had to tell, and she had to be part of it."